Omega 3 is in the limelight nowadays. Ever wondered what is this hype all about? Does it really have those numerous health benefits that it claims? Where is it found and what does it do? Let’s clear all your doubts. In this article, we will be discussing everything about omega 3. So, let’s get started!
What is omega 3?
You might already know that humans need three macronutrients for their proper growth and development. Those are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Here, we are going to consider fats. Fats are again divided into saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats can be further classified into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Omega-3s are a kind of polyunsaturated fats, which means their chemical structure has several double bonds in the carbon chain. It is found in fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and green-lipped mussels.
There are three basic types of omega 3s and they are alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Our body cannot produce any of these naturally, so these are called essential fatty acids. However, if our body has access to ALA, it can manage to produce EPA and DHA. These are very crucial for the normal functioning of our body and are an integral part of our health. DHA is known as omega 3 for the brain as it plays an integral role in brain development.
Apart from these, the New Zealand native, Green-lipped mussels have an exceptionally high concentration of some other unique omega 3 fatty acids. A distinctive attribute about green-lipped mussels oil is that it has a special type of omega 3 – eicosatetraenoic acid. Not just that, it has 32 other omega fatty acids in it, with 18 being omega 3s. Isn’t it wonderful?
What are the natural sources of omega 3 fatty acids?
Omega 3 fats are primarily found in marine algae and phytoplankton and accumulate in the fish as it feeds on these. ALA is found in algae, leafy vegetables, vegetable oils, seeds, nuts like walnuts, and some grass-fed animal meat. Fatty fishes like Salmon, Mackerel, Sardine, Trout, and Shrimps are rich in EPA and DHA. If you need to have a combo of 18 omega-3 fats, including ETAs, consider green-lipped mussel oil capsules or supplements.
Why is it beneficial for us?
1. Crucial for prenatal development: Omega 3 fatty acids are crucial for us even before we are born. In the womb, an adequate amount of omega 3 fats are needed for the proper growth and development of the fetus’s brain and retina.
Infants fed with high omega foods have better mental development, higher intelligence, good communication skills, achieve milestones appropriately, and have fewer behavioral problems. Omega 3 for the brain, especially DHA, is very crucial in the early development stages. Thus maternal diet should include plenty of omega 3 rich foods in it.
Also Read: 12 Must-Have Foods That Are Very High in Omega-3s
2. Promotes heart health: Omega 3 fats enhance heart health by lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, blood pressure, triglycerides, and inflammation; It also increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels, suppresses plaque formation, and blood clotting.
3. Acts against metabolic syndrome: It can fight metabolic syndrome. Wondering what is it? Let me tell you. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of several physiological conditions like high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and abdominal obesity.
4. Reduces diabetes risk: The root cause of diabetes is insulin resistance and Omega 3 increases insulin sensitivity in our body, thus reducing diabetes risk.
5. Boosts immunity: It's also an excellent immune support supplement that helps to produce the right amount of immune response known as the ‘Goldilocks' response which isn’t too little or too much, just the right! If the immune response is too little, our system might fail to fight the infection.
If it’s too much, it might cause severe damage to vital body parts by creating strong immune responses like cytokine storms. Omega-3s also help to heal from the previous infection and its subsequent immune response. It helps to fight autoimmune diseases as well.
6. Promotes nervous health: It is very important for neurological health as it is indirectly involved in the production of neurotransmitters, the chemical substances that help to transmit the message from one neuron to the other.
7. Strong anti-inflammatory properties: Omega 3 fats have very powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Now, you might be thinking of inflammation as our body’s natural mechanism to fight infections. This is indeed correct. But natural inflammations subsides after the infection.
Sometimes, our body produces abnormally long sessions of inflammation, this is known as chronic inflammation. Omega 3 fats can inhibit the formation of inflammation-causing chemokines and cytokines like tumor necrosis factor, interleukins, interferons, and thus prevent chronic inflammation.
8. Anti-depressant effects: Omega 3 fats like EPA and ETA are very beneficial in fighting mental disorders like anxiety and depression. It can both prevent as well as make the symptoms of the existing condition better.
9. Anti-cancer effects: Owing to its healing and anti-inflammatory properties, it can prevent colon, breast, and prostate cancer. Green-lipped mussels oil has the most potent anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids in it.
10. Helps with Asthma: Omega 3 fatty acids are very helpful in calming down the swollen air pipe, bronchus and lungs in young asthma patients.
11. Promotes skin health: Omega 3 fats enhance your skin health too. It has photoprotective effects that guard you against harmful solar radiation. DHA, being an integral part of the cell membrane, helps your skin look soft and supple. EPA helps to balance oil production, controls acne, and delays aging.
12. Promotes Sleep: Omega 3 fats, especially DHA, are involved in producing hormones like melatonin that induces sleep. Thus, these are effective sleep promoters as well. It should be recalled that sleep deprivation is one of the main reasons for the development of obesity, diabetes, anxiety, and depression.
13. Boosts liver health: One of the most common causes of fatty liver is alcoholism, but there are non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases where fat accumulates in the liver and leads to several liver diseases. An adequate amount of omega 3 fats can help to clear your liver off the excess fats.
14. Effective against neurological diseases: It has been scientifically proven to be effective against degenerative neurological diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer's diseases. It not only helps to prevent them but also helps with the already existing condition.
15. Enhances joint health: Omega 3 helps calcium absorption in the bones, making them strong. Furthermore, being an anti-inflammatory agent, it helps to relieve arthritis and the associated discomfort. It’s the best natural joint support supplement.
16. Helps with menstrual discomfort: It also helps to relieve period cramps and discomforts. In a study, it was seen that an adequate amount of omega 3 is even more effective than ibuprofen for alleviating stomach cramps.
How to consume omega 3?
Saw the above-mentioned natural dietary sources of omega 3s? You can include them liberally in your diet. If you find it difficult to get everything on your plate every day, you can go for a good quality omega 3 supplement or a fish oil supplement.
You can also get yourself a green-lipped mussels oil supplement to bombard your body with tons of these essential fatty acids. Green-lipped mussels oil, as said above, has around 32 omega fats, including, omega 3, 6, 7, and 9.
Are all your doubts cleared now? Aren’t omega 3 fats fascinating? They are so beneficial for our health and wellbeing. Try to include an adequate amount of omega 3 rich foods in your diet or else seriously consider buying an omega 3 supplement for yourself. It can be the ringmaster of your health. How do you get your omega 3 fats? Comment below!